There’s plenty more to San Diego than the renowned San Diego Zoo and Comic Con. In this land of sea and sun, art, culture, and nature come together to entrance any visitor. Whether you’re a San Diego native or a first-time visitor, there’s so much about San Diego that’s bound to impress you. Still, there’s much more to this California city than meets the eye. Here are nine things you didn’t know about San Diego:
Image source: Shockingly Delicious
Biggest Producer of Avocados in the US
Ever wonder why so many California-inspired sandwiches have avocado? That’s because avocados are a big deal in San Diego—the city produces more avocados than any other place in the country. Singer Jason Mraz actually owns a 5.5 acre avocado farm in the city.
Fallbrook, an area just outside of the city, is the avocado capital of the world, and the Fallbrook Avocado Festival celebrates the local produce. There are also more farms in San Diego than any other city in the United States (roughly 7,000). A popular restaurant called Ponce’s is known for great tasting guacamole, so be sure to add it to your list.
Image source: Mintz Levin
It’s One of the Most Beautiful Cities in the World
San Diego is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Pete Wilson, former mayor of San Diego and governor of California, referred to San Diego as “America’s Most Finest State” and some consider it “birthplace” of the state. When you’re in this city, it’s evident why: from sprawling vineyards to great outcroppings and bluffs to beautiful beaches, there’s no shortage of beauty to see.
Image source: San Diego Airport
Busiest Airport in the Country
If you’re planning on visiting San Diego, you should probably know that San Diego has the busiest one-way airport in the country, and second in the world—right behind London Gatwick. Visitors should be prepared for a little congestion, but as you can tell from the influx of people visiting, it’s well worth it. Furthermore, despite the heavy traffic, San Diego is ranked as one of the top three airports in the country. The ranking was based on data from the Federal Aviation Administration and several other statistical groups. Security wait times, WiFi strength, and restaurants and retailer availability were strong suits.
Image source: NBC San Diego
There’s a Tony Hawk Day
San Diego is considered a “skater heaven.” Tony Hawk and Olympian Shaun White were both born here, and Tony Hawk still resides in the neighborhood of Encinitas. And city officials declared May 29th Tony Hawk Day. And it wasn’t just because of his skills on a skateboard; he’s also been heavily involved in local philanthropic work. The Tony Hawk Foundation has raised over $5 million to fix and build skate parks around the country.
“So to see skateboarding come so far and especially to see San Diego embrace it—I mean, this skate park has been here a really long time; it was one of the first public parks—it’s a testament to San Diego and the belief they have in our culture,” said Hawk said when he was presented with the city holiday.
Image source: Maritime Museum of San Diego
The Star of India Lives Here
San Diego is home to The Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship. This ship was built in 1863, has completed 21 circumnavigations around the world, and has survived potentially disastrous events, like running aground in Hawaii and getting stuck in the ice in Alaska. The Star also had a tough beginning with a harsh cyclone in the Bay of Bengal, and its first captain passed away at sea. Since then, it’s lived up pretty well. Some of its world voyages lasted up to a year. Today, it’s a California Historical Landmark and a United States National Historic Landmark. You can visit the ship at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, although it sails once per year, so be sure to check in with the museum to determine its availability.
Image source: Passport of San Diego
There Are Dozens of Ancient Egyptian Artifacts
The San Diego Museum of Man is home to the largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts, and arguably one of the most important collections in the world. For instance, there are only six painted coffins in the world, and one of them is at the Museum of Man. The Museum has been standing for over 100 years, and other Egyptian artifacts include figurines and burial masks. You’ll also find the Lemon Grove Mummy, which has an interesting story behind it. In 1966, two San Diego teenagers went over to Mexico in search of mummies and stumbled upon two that were hundreds of years old. They buried them in a friend’s garage, and the mummies weren’t found until a renovation was underway 14 years later. Upon discovery, the mummies were moved to the Museum of Man.
Image source: Broadway San Diego
Broadway Worthy Shows
When you think about musicals or Broadway, images of New York might come to mind. But San Diego is also home to many great shows. Two home theatres—La Jolla Playhouse and the Old Globe—have sent more shows to New York City than any other city in the country. According to the San Diego Tribune, stage insiders and producers know San Diego as “theatre town,” and this has regarded the city as one of the country.
Image source: Birch Aquarium
It’s Home to the Largest Oceanographic Museum
Although the San Diego Zoo gets all the attention, there’s another animal kingdom in the area. The Birch Aquarium at Scripps is the largest oceanographic museum in the USA, and it calls San Diego its home. There are more than 5,000 fish here across over 60 habitats. The UC San Diego aquarium sits perched on a bluff that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, a node to the magical marine life that lives here.
Exhibits change from time to time, but there’s still plenty to see. For example, the Sea Dragon exhibit will unveil during summer 2019, and gives visitors a glimpse into the lives of different species of seahorses. There’s also a comic-book inspired oddities exhibit that reveals all the wild, weird, and crazy plants and animals that live in the water.
Image source: SanDiegoVille
You Can Pay For Really Bad Service
The city is home to Dick’s Last Resort bar and restaurant, where staff are as rude as possible to the visitors. This restaurant chain is known for hiring staff to be as obnoxious as possible. The restaurant decor is wacky, with picnic style tables, and each server has its own brand of bad experience.
Guests come here for great food and expect to be insulted and put in some pretty awkward situations. For instance, there are no napkins placed at the table, and when guests ask for them, servers throw the napkins in their direction. This is a pretty unique experience that you’ll have to be in the mood for, but it’s one you won’t forget!